PROTECTING CULTURAL HERITAGE
Learning Resilience from the Past
Destruction of archaeological sites impacts cultural heritage and is not a problem solely relevant to archaeologists or heritage professionals. Cultural heritage and local knowledge are integral to reducing social vulnerabilities and increasing community resilience to climate change. In the context of disasters, documenting cultural heritage sites in collaboration with communities, is an important adaptation strategy because it helps people to re-connect and take strength from their past and the knowledge that their ancestors before them survived similar events.
Within the context of climate change, sea level rise and extreme weather events threaten not only coastal communities globally, but also the archaeological record of local history, knowledge, and culture. Dunes and coastal areas often protect the artifacts and stories of the Puerto Rican people. Unfortunately, the speed at which changes and impacts to these areas are happening has made us aware of how vulnerable these libraries of cultural heritage are and how fast they are disappearing.
The DUNAS project is an interdisciplinary approach to respond to this threat. By working with ecologists, archeologists, community members, and climate experts to slow coastal dune erosion and rebuild dunes in key locations, we buy time to document and learn from the communities of the past to inform our resilient future.